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A Change of Heart ?

By Dr Jawaid Quddus

It appears that wisdom has finally dawned on the Sangh Parivar, or maybe the Indian Muslims have paid heed to the RSS Chief's recent demand that they Indianize themselves and have done so! I am referring to the recent announcement by the new President of the BJP Mr. Bangaru Laxman, telling us all that 'Muslims are blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh'. Within days of this announcement the RSS full-timer and prachar pramukh Shrikant Joshi (TOI, 10 September 2000) also commented on this indicating that 'It's a continuation of the same policy. Muslims ko chahiye ke sanjidagi se iska adhyayan karen (Muslims should take it seriously).' He further urged that `I would urge Muslims not to look upon themselves as minorities. Ethnically, historically, geographically, linguistically, they are no different from us. Only our way of worship is different'. Chandraprakash Sharma, the General Secretary, South Delhi Shakhas, perhaps was more pragmatic to suggest that `The reality is we cannot afford to ignore the 15 crore Muslims of this country.' 

Why this change of heart? Wasn't it M. S. Golwalkar, the RSS Chief appointed by Dr. Keshav Rao Hedgewar, the founder, who had very precisely defined the Sangh Parivar's concept of how to deal with the minorities 'From this stand point, sanctioned by the experiences of shrewd nations, the foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment, not even citizen's rights. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation: let us deal, as old nations ought to and do deal, with the foreign races who have chosen to live in our country'. (MS Golwalkar, We or Our Nationhood Defined, 1938, p. 35).

Decades ago, in 1967, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya had also stated `Musalman hamare shareer ka ek ang hain, unka khoon hamara khoon hai' (Muslims are a part of us, the same blood runs in our veins). It, however, did not seem to make any difference. These 23 years are replete with atrocious acts perpetrated by the Sangh Parivar against the Muslims in India, be it the riots in Jabalpur, Jamshedpur, Ahmedabad, Hashimpur, Maliana, Mumbai and most recently in Rajashtan and Surat. Guru Golwalker, were he alive today would certainly be very proud of his storm-troopers ! That these riots were well planned in advance by the Saffron Brigade needs no comment. Several commissions instituted by the Indian Government have very aptly indicted members of the Sangh Parivar, some members of the Police and other paramilitary forces such as the PAC responsible for such carnage. However, no one has been punished and probably never will be! The Commission, in the case of the Hashimpura incident in 1987 had indicted several people including PAC units and Officers, but no action was taken. Some of the accused officers were subsequently promoted following this event. The Srikrishna Commission report indicting the Shiv Sena activists and the Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray is still gathering dust. Add to this the Liberhan Commission appointed by the Home Ministry to investigate the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Even after 8 years, despite several court dates, it has been unable to force its principal witness, Mr. Kalyan Singh to testify. It appears that Mr. Kalyan Singh is just too sick to come and has failed to appear before the Commission time and again. Of course, since Mr. Kalyan Singh is the chief witness, unless his testimony is recorded, the Liberhan Commission has indicated that it cannot ask the other accused such as Mr. Advani , Dr MM Joshi and others to testify. The Commission's term of Office is due to expire in about two months, so we know where this investigation is heading! Very soon, maybe, this incident will be declared timebarred and that will be the end of it.

Miracles do happen, views, perspective and opinions do change. We Indian Muslims need to be pragmatic and give the Sangh Parivar the benefit of doubt. Maybe we can even prod them along and remind them that if they are serious about Muslims joining their organization, they should, at the minimum, make efforts to do the following:

·Reconstruct Babri Masjid and remove from their agenda the other 3000 or so Masjid's slated for destruction. This does not preclude the construction of the Ram Mandir at a site adjacent to but different from the exact spot where the Babri Masjid stood. Alternatively constitute a commission drawn from UNESCO or some other World Body comprised of scientists who can apply high tech methodology such as carbon dating etc. to ascertain whether or not a temple existed on the site where the Babri Masjid stood.
v Punish the people responsible for the destruction of Babri Masjid, those involved in the Meerut and Maliana massacre, in the riots in Mumbai and all other such incidents of violence against the minorities, including the Christians, the Sikhs and the Dalits.  Provide for adequate compensation to the victims of violence so that they can start their lives over again with dignity. Ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future, and if they do, that they be curbed without bias. 
v Provide for adequate representation for the minorities in government service, especially the police and paramilitary services and the armed forces, in admissions to schools and institutions of higher learning, in proportion to their population statistics.
v Stop the unnecessary harassment of the Muslims, Muslim institutions like Madarsas, AMU, Jamia Miilia Islamia and Shibli College in the pretext of going after ISI agents or other anti-national entities.(TOI, 11 April, 2000, The Hindu, 26 April 2000).
vStop the uprooting of Muslims and the other minorities from their homes and jobs, as has been going on in Gujrat, U.P. and other places around the country.(Humanscape April 2000 )

This is probably too much to ask for, but if the Sangh Parivar is serious about involving the Muslims in the 'national mainstream', this is what they need to do. This will guarantee the support of the Muslims and the Sangh Parivar will achieve their objective of sustaining power and a stable government for years to come!! Failing this, one may conclude that this sudden empathy for the Muslims is just a ploy. We Muslims may be poor, may be illiterate, but we are not stupid enough to be misled by the shenanigans of the Sangh Parivar. The objective of this sudden love for the Muslims is not for the benefit of the Muslims, it is infact directed at the liberal and secular Hindus. For those who can see the writing on the wall, the message is clear. The Sangh Parivar is unable to fully implement its hidden agenda as has been very aptly stated by our PM in New York recently , `We have done a lot being a minority government. When we (the BJP) is given a majority, we will build an India of everyone's dream.' (IE, Sept. 11, 2000). To establish a majority government and to transform India into the land of their dreams, (read Hindu Rashtra), the Sangh Parivar needs to increase its vote bank. They know that this support will never come from the minorities in India, hence they must woo the liberal Hindus and maybe some beguiled Muslims.. Gallant as this effort maybe, the liberal and secular Hindus and the minorities love their motherland much too much to get caught in this devious web. 

Postscript: What makes India great? People like T.A. Majeed of Kerala and Vidya Bhusan Singh of Gopalganj, Bihar.
TA Majeed has constructed a Jain temple at a cost of Rs. 45 Lakh and has donated it to the Jain community at Palitana, about 250 kilometers from Ahmadabad. This he did as his contribution towards religious amity (The Milli Gazette, 16-31 August 2000)

Vidya Bhusan Singh has began to send his two grandsons to the local Madarsa instead of the local village primary school located in Gopalganj. This is because the two primary school teachers drawing salaries of Rs. 10,000 a month, are always absent from the school. According to the Times of India (10 September, 2000), the Madarsa on the other hand is being run very efficiently by the head maulvi and his two assistants. Initially there was a hue and cry among the Rajput community, from which he hails in Meera Tola-Khetapur village. People from his village taunted him for converting to Islam, however there has been a change in the attitude of the people since then. Now about 70 children belonging to the Hindu community study in the same Madarsa where there are 400 other children. The head maulvi did not object to the presence of Hindu children studying in the Madarsa although he got the surprise of his life when he saw two boys, aged three and five, reading Urdu while donning a topi, like the other kids in the Madarsa . 

Vidya Bhusan Singh believes that sending his grandsons to the Madarsa does not intrude on his religion and believes that his grandchildren will have a greater perception of their own religion and also other religions.

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